Yes, we can just worry about baseball from here on out.
Before that though, it’s worth noting that Charlie Manuel has his superstitions working overtime. Oh sure, Charlie will tell you that superstitions are bad luck, but sometimes you just gotta do what you do.
So Charlie always takes the Walt Whitman Bridge from his home in South Jersey to the ballpark when the Phillies are in town. It doesn’t matter about the traffic or what kind of trouble is lurking out there on the roads from time to time. Charlie rides on the Walt Whitman no matter what.
That’s just what he does.
But his most consistent ritual, the one that if he doesn’t perform to the letter (literally), bad things will occur, has its roots set here in New York City. You see, Charlie likes to use the pens they put out in his hotel room at the Le Parker Meridien. One day last year Chuck was writing away with one of those smooth, gliding pens that they laid out on his desk and his night stand and it was like his hand were driving a Cadillac.
You know, kind of like one of those astronaut pens Jack Klompus grudgingly gave to Jerry Seinfeld.
Since the Phillies were in town to play the Mets early last year, Manuel took the pen to the clubhouse with him and wrote out his lineup card with it. Needless to say, good things happened. In fact, it went so well that Charlie stocks up on the pens whenever the team goes to New York City.
Fortunately for the manager and his lineups, the Phillies are making their fifth trip to the big city and the Le Parker Meridien this season. If the World Series stretches past five games, Charlie can poach even more of those pens.
“I’m been doing that since last year. I started using those last year because we started winning games,” Charlie said. “It’s just a hotel pen. I use that same kind of pen.”
Oh, sure, there are a lot of nice writing utensils out there. Personally, I’m partial to the Pilot brand Precise Rolling ball V5. Preferrably in black, though blue ink is acceptable, too. Unlike a lot of my colleagues I don’t load up on pens from the Marriott hotels we favor and spend the extra dollar on those smooth, crisp pens. In fact, there is one fellow scribe that “borrows” these fantastic pens a couple times a month. My plan heading into next season is to get a sponsorship from Pilot or a special waiver on my expenses so that I can make sure the Philadelphia writing press gets to use a quality pen.
So yeah, I know what it’s like to be tied to certain things. If I can help it, I’d rather not use any other pen.
Charlie is a different story, though. If there is a tight shot of the dugout where Charlie stands near his railing, look closely -- you'll see his pen tied to the mesh protective netting. That's where he keeps it during the game when he isn't using it.
He’s been carting around these pens for nearly two seasons now and it’s probably a safe bet that he’ll be using them for many more. After all, since he began using those special pens that the put out there like sample-size bottles of shampoo and soap and extra towels, the season has ended with two straight trips to the World Series.
Yes indeed, it has to be the pen.